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 Visapur

Region : Lonavala
Height :
3567 ft

A trek to Visapur Fort was in the offing for a long time but could not do so due to some or the other reason. This time when I got to know that Tekdi, Pune was organising a Visapur trek on 26th January, I was 100% sure to do it.

Harshad and I enrolled for the trek. The plan was to meet the Tekdi, Pune trekkers at Malavali Rly Station which is the next station after Lonavala (towards Pune). We took the 5am Mumbai - Pune Asiad bus and got down at Malavali Junction on the expressway, thanks to our driver. It was 7am and the weather was quite chill. The Pune team comprising of 5 trekkers arrived just in time we reached the station.

After the initial introduction, we moved in the direction of the road bridge which took us across the expressway into Malavali Village. After about 10 minutes walk we reached Bhaja Village were we had light refreshments. We then moved on.

Our first halt enroute to Visapur was a visit to Bhaje Caves. After a few minutes walk from the village we reached a flight of stone steps on our left that took us upto the Bhaje Caves. Bhaje Caves lie at the base of Visapur fort.

Bhaje Caves : One of the earliest caves in the region, Chaitya facade has collapsed with a loss of major inscription. Octagonal pillars, supporting chaityas and vihars, indicate B.C. antiquity. There is a Horse - shoe shaped chaitya window. Valult beams of the interior of chaitya are wooden. Radiocarbon dating of this wood found to be 250 B.C + or - 150 B.C. years, much earlier than expected. Figures of Dwarpal guardians, Five armed figure in the niches on the east side of Varandah hall. Relief depicting Lord Surya on his chariot and Lord Indra on elephant - Airavat. The sculpture indicates influence of the shung - art. (source : Sahayadri Companion)

After spending about 1/2 hour at the caves, we enquired with the caretaker on a shorter route to Visapur. He showed us the route and we moved on accordingly. After leaving the caves, we started descending the steps. Enroute we came to a abandoned house. Taking the route behind the house we reached a lone Mango tree. From here, we took a left and started ascending the hill. There were several misleading paths, however with much care we reached on top of the hill. The Western face of Visapur fort was clearly visible now. We had to get to the eastern entrance of the fort. There is a dense forest on this side of the fort. To our luck an old lady (villager who stays at a village closeby) offered to guide us upto a place from where we could get onto the fort. We moved to the eastern part of the fort, traversing the hill and after a small initial climb reached the rock cut steps that would lead us to the fort. It took us about an hour to reach this place from Bhaje Caves.

Here we find a huge image of Maruti chiselled out of rock. There is a small cave next to it with a 'T' shaped kind of entrance. We climbed the steps and reached the top (eastern side of the fort). A lone cannon lies here. There are huge water tanks on this side of the fort. We walked on the periphery of the fort, past the broken bastions (huge one's) and reached an open area. There is a solitude ruined house in the middle of the fort. From here one could see the vast expanse of the fort. Moving further we saw a huge grinding wheel. The bastions of the western face are still in good shape.The view of Lohagad Fort (which lies adjacent to Visapur), the valley below, Malavali, Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the railway line is all so fascinating. If you look further, one can see a faint view of Rajmachi. We moveed further on and reached the western edge of the fort. The view of the Lohagad Fort, its hill and Vinchu-Kata is simply entralling. One can also see Tikona fort on the left and the huge Tung fort on the right with the Pawna river running between them. The land here is very fertile and lot of development is taking place here. It is quite expensive to live in this stretch of the Pawna region as the view of the river and its surrounding hills is simply mind-boggling.

We now started walking on the lines of the eastern bastion. Enroute we passed by some caves and water tanks. There is a small sparsely vegetated hillock in the middle of the fort. On the eastern side too there are broken bastions, scattered cannons and several Maruti Temples. From the eastern face, one can also see the Bhatrishi Hill, Bedse Caves and Tikona fort. The entire fort is guarded by fortifications which have crumbled and broken at several places

Its was about 2pm, and we decided to have our lunch after descent. Our descent is thru the western part of the fort. We reached a crumbled fortification from where a gully (actually a stream during monsoon which is now dried up) descends down thru huge boulders. It took us about 20mins to descend this part and thru the thickets finally reached a well trodden path. The path on the left leads to Bedse Caves and then onto Bhatrishi hill and towards the right leads to Gaimukh Khind and onto Lohagad Fort.

We turned right and moved towards Gaimukh Khind keeping Visapur fort on our left. After about 20mins walk we took shelter under a huge tree and had our lunch. After about an hour of discussion on various topics ranging from trekking to careers, we decided to return back to Malavali. We reach Gaimukh Khind at 3pm. The Lohagad fort is about 30mins from the Khind, however due to time constraints we drop the idea of visiting the fort, also bearing in mind that it would take us an additional 2hrs to see the fort and that in turn would delay our return home. So a visit to Lohagad would be kept for sometime later.

We took a right at the Khind and start walking on a broad path which took us back to Malavali in about 2hrs.

We bid adieu to our pune trekkers and took the 5.45pm local to Lonavala and the 6.15pm Nagarcoil Express to Mumbai, finally reaching home at around 10.30pm.

All in all, it was indeed a good trek........

Click here to check out the trek photos.....
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Dinesh Nair
28th Jan'06

 
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